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The Cowboy Way

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DiamondSCattleCo

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A few years back, I used to write humor articles for a webzine and a book. I was cleaning up my hard drive and stumbled across them, so I thought maybe this was a crowd that would appreciate a few of them:

Introducing The Cowboy Way

Cowboy.

The word evokes an image of a solitary figure, riding a fence line into the setting sun, a herd of red, black, and white cattle grazing on endless miles of native grassland. For some, there may be mountains in the background, or an eagle soaring on the winds high above. For others, a babbling brook may take the place of mountains, and the eagle could be a hawk.

No matter what the image, there are feelings attached that remain constant: Tranquility. Contentment. Freedom.

Anyone else hear those snickers? Maybe a few guffaws thrown in for good measure? Those snickers and guffaws are coming from folks in the crowd who have spent a good chunk of their years living that picture y'all have set in your minds.

So what are they laughing at, you ask?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Lets have a closer look at that picture of the cowboy.

Y'see how the horse is kind of standing in front of that chunk of fence? You take a closer look at the fence post behind the horse.

Go on, have a look. Right under the horse's belly.

Broke, ain't it? And despite the best efforts of modern engineering, even the lightest, most durable wire needs the occasional bent, twisted, or rotted post stuck in the ground to hold it up. It’s hard to say how that post got broke. Maybe an amorous bull caught wind of some pretty little heifers two pastures over. That would explain the four broken wires you also see under the horse.

Now, cattle are creatures of habit. They’ll take water around the same time each day. You can often set your watch by cows bellering for feed, or a little nip of chopped oats. But variety is the spice of life, and bovines, when faced with a broken fence line, see an ideal opportunity to taste the grass on a different side of the pasture.

So all those contented critters grazing in the picture? What you’re not seeing is the equal number of critters high tailing it into yonder hills, looking for the proverbial greener pastures. The cowboy staring off into the distance? He’s watching them go, tears of frustration rolling down his cheek, muttering a few not-so-polite words about the 17th danged hole that he’s fixed today. He's questioning the lineage of his fine critters, and wondering why he didn’t stay in town and get a normal job that would see him home at 5:00 pm everyday.

I can see you’re starting to get the real picture now. The gloves hide the wounds obtained from fixing the other 16 holes in the wire. The horse that spooked a while back, giving the cowboy a free ride that amusement parks only dream of, ending with a two mile walk to where the ornery old nag finally decided to stop and grab a nibble of grass. And the list goes on.

Yeah, so what are the folks laughing at, you ask again?

Faced with 365 days of that beautiful picture y’all have in your minds, most cowboys have got no choice but to laugh. It keeps them out of the little rooms with the padded walls. And most of the time, that picture was their own danged fault anyway. So what’s done is done, might just as well get a chuckle or two out of it.

And this is where we here at The Cowboy Way come into the picture. Ranching in northern Saskatchewan has its own little set of challenges, frustrations, and rewards. Thanks to the good graces of the Outdoor Recreation Network, we’ve been given the chance to paint our own picture for y’all. Over the next few months or years, we hope to be able to give you a few how-tos, a few more don’t-dos, and maybe a couple laughs in between. Or, more likely, a few “how-could-they-have-been-so-stupids.”

So come along for the ride, and we'll see you a little farther down the trail.
 

ranchwife

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a few years back, i had the distinct honor of riding with the hubby while we moved the 400 head a few miles down the road to newer pasture (usually, i am at work at the hospital when he moves the little darlings).....about a mile down the road, a bus-full of outta state tourists came to a (literally) screeching halt....outta the windows and the door came cameras by the dozens..all of them clicking pix of "the real cowboy...oh, gee...looka there!!"....the hubby tried to hide his face with his cowboy hat while i lagged behind in my john deere tractor cap, laughing and telling the hubby to "smile pretty for the 'foreigners'"!!!! Nope, he still has not lived that one down....he was muttering under his breath his whole time "if only they knew the reality"!! :wink:
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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<chuckle> Well at least the cattle didn't spook :) A buddy of mine works at the community pasture, and if a rancher is less than 12 miles from the pasture, they'll drive the herd home in the fall instead of making them trailer the herd. A couple years back, they were crossing the highway when tourists got out of their minivan and started snapping pictures. For some reason, one of the old-timers spooked and that was the end of the orderly cattle drive.

His words "And then there were cattle EVERY damned direction you looked. I was in back of the herd and I felt like Moses parting the red sea as all them red %%%%%'s flowed past me trying to go back to the pasture. If I coulda got my mitts on that idiot with the camera..."

I'll stop with the quote there :)

Rod
 

Northern Rancher

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We had a plow jockey split about 400 fresh yearling heifers we were moving-we were 60 some short when we got to the yard. Four of us roped and tied down 50 or so the next day-it was kinda fun but glad they weren't my cattle. Kind of like today I sorted about 30 EXT's off my Brahma X cows-it was just like sorting sparrows from bumblebees lol.
 

Soapweed

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About forty years ago, a couple neighbors were horseback crossing a main highway with a herd of cattle. They were kind of near a curve, and didn't have anybody flagging for traffic. A big convertible came barreling around the bend, and screeched to a halt to avoid hitting the cattle. I'm not sure about how much the tourists were impressed with seeing real live cowboys in action, but the cowboys were certainly impressed by seeing the completely unclad sunbathing lady in the backseat of the convertible. :shock: :? :oops: :)
 

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